Sinedu’s Letter*

by Emily Butler

Sigh after sigh I realize—
the flowers keep on dying.
Birds make no difference.
I’m laughing on thin air.
There is a sensation
like falling.
I know that soon
the earth will break me.
A blushing little thing
shrinking ever smaller.
Invisible in crowds.
Choking on river water.
The house was a sunflower. Now it bleeds.
I wait to hear from you.


In 1995, Harvard student Sinedu Tadesse murdered her roommate Trang Ho, then committed suicide. Weeks prior, she sent a letter to dozens of strangers picked out of the phone book. This is a poem built in part from phrases in her letter.

Emily Butler is the author of Lucid Dreaming, Waking Life: Unlocking the Power of Your Sleep (Toplight Books) and the poetry chapbook, Self Talk (Plan B Press). Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Spoon River Poetry Review, Cape Cod Poetry Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, Bone Parade, Moonglasses, and elsewhere. You can follow them on Twitter @EmilyFButler1

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